April 23, 2019

WiFi PDA Meets Linux--Part 1 - page 4


  • March 31, 2005
  • By Rob Reilly

Naturally, we'll need a working Samba server. My test Samba server had an early Pentium processor, 128 MB of RAM, a 4 MB system disk and a 30 MB storage disk. It also has a 10/100 NIC, runs SUSE Linux and is headless. Instead of covering all the details here, I'll kindly refer you to one of my old articles describing the Samba set up process at:


That will get the basic server running. We also need to make sure a few lines are in the Samba config file, so the iPAQ can find it on the network.

Here's my /etc/samba/smb.conf file:

# smb.conf is the main samba configuration file. 
     	    wins support = Yes 
            preferred master = Yes 
            workgroup = robnet 
            os level = 255 
            time server = Yes 
            unix extensions = Yes 
            encrypt passwords = Yes 
            local master = Yes 
            security = user 
            log level = 1 
            syslog = 0 
            printing = CUPS 
            printcap name = CUPS 
            socket options = SO_KEEPALIVE IPTOS_LOWDELAY TCP_NODELAY 
            comment = Home Directories 
            valid users = %S 
            browseable = Yes 
            read only = No 
            comment = All Printers 
            path = /disk2/tmp 
            printable = Yes 
            create mask = 0600 
            browseable = No 
            comment = Printer Drivers 
            path = /var/lib/samba/drivers 
            write list = @ntadmin root 
            force group = ntadmin 
            create mask = 0664 
            directory mask = 0775 
            browseable = yes 
            read only = no 
            path = /disk2 

This smb.conf file resides on an SUSE Linux machine in the /etc/samba directory. Other distributions could have the file in a different directory.

Also note that the iPAQ seems to require the wins support, preferred master, and local master lines in order to connect.

The [disk2] entry represents my server's 30 GB server disk. Here are the steps needed to connect the iPAQ to the Samba server.

On the Samba box

  • Edit and save the /etc/samba/smb.conf (SUSE Linux) file.
  • Restart the Samba and NMB servers. On the SUSE Linux command line used: root# rcsmb restart root# rcnmb restart

On the iPAQ

  • Under Start (might need to go to Programs) select File Explorer.
  • Select the remote server icon (hand with a disk drive) at the bottom of the screen.
  • On the Open screen, type in the machine name (Windows name) and the shared directory, followed by OK. To connect to the disk2 directory on my "moe" Samba server machine I typed:
  • When the Network Log-On screen appears type in your user name and password (you did set up a user name and password to access your directory share when you built Samba, right?).

If all is correct, you should see a listing of the remote Samba directory. Double-click on a directory to travel to that directory. If you want to go back up in the tree, click on the tiny arrow at the top of the File Explorer screen, to the right of the remote server (hand) icon.

To copy a file from your remote Samba drive to your local iPAQ data story directory:

  • Select and hold the stylus on your file or directory.
  • Select copy from the pop-up menu.
  • Click on the iPAQ data share icon (middle icon at the bottom with a red mark on it).
  • Click the Edit item at the bottom right of the screen.
  • Select Paste to copy the file into the iPAQ data share directory.
  • If you want to save the file somewhere else, you can navigate to other directories on the iPAQ (or Samba machine, if you have write permission) by using the tiny arrow at the top of the screen again and choosing a new directory.

If you have a Windows machine on your network, you can connect to it using the same technique. The iPAQ File Explorer can connect to multiple servers (or Windows shared drives), but you can only view one directory at a time. I could flip between my "larry" (Windows 98 machine with file sharing on) and "moe" Samba server drive, simply by clicking and choosing the path, on the remote server icon.

Connecting to the Samba server seemed a little quirky. Occasionally, it would take a couple of clicks on the remote server icon to get the Login Screen. I didn't find the same trouble connecting to the "larry" Windows shared drive. I suspect that a parameter might be off a little in my smb.conf file, but I haven't been able to run it down yet.

Another problem I found was that I was unable to connect to my Samba server using it's IP address. Then again, I couldn't connect to "larry" using his IP address either. Might be a characteristic of Windows CE on the iPAQ.

Once connected (using the machine names) I could consistently flip back and forth between remote drives.

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